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Anybody can participate in the IETF (Was: Why is IPv6 broken?)

In a message written on Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 06:16:09PM +0200, Jeroen Massar wrote:
> Ehmmmm ANYBODY, including you, can sign up to the IETF mailing lists and
> participate there, just like a couple of folks from NANOG are already doing.

The way the IETF and the operator community interact is badly broken.

The IETF does not want operators in many steps of the process.  If
you try to bring up operational concerns in early protocol development
for example you'll often get a "we'll look at that later" response,
which in many cases is right.  Sometimes you just have to play with
something before you worry about the operational details.  It also
does not help that many operational types are not hardcore programmers,
and can't play in the sandbox during the major development cycles.

But this shuts out operators and discourages them from participating
when they are needed, which is at the idea phase and towards the
end of development.

If the IETF really wanted to get useful operator impact, they would
slightly modify their process.  On the front end there would be a
more clear way for operational types to add to the To-Do list "stuff
we really need to make the Internet work better".  Then, some sausage
would be made largely without operator involvement (but hey, if you
want to participate no exclusions), and then when developmen is
about 80-90% done there would be an "operational testing and comment
period".  Operators would be actively brought back in the process
to test some small scale deployments and provide feedback of
operational concerns that might lead to some tweaks, and then boom,
out the door it goes.

I suspect this would both increase operator participation by a few
orders of magnitude, and also keep the operators from annoying the
developers so much when they are in "trying things out" mode.

       Leo Bicknell - bicknell at ufp.org - CCIE 3440
        PGP keys at http://www.ufp.org/~bicknell/
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